Open Season for Summertime Recreation Events Use on the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts

Contact(s): Erica Hupp (775) 355-5311; Naaman Horn (702) 515-5413

Sparks, NV. – The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Bridgeport and Carson Ranger Districts annually receive numerous new proposals requesting the use of National Forest System (NFS) lands for recreation events (e.g., competitive runs, fishing derbies, etc.). To better service the public, these two Districts will now have an “open season” when new summer season recreation event proposals will be accepted and processed.

Starting in 2019, the Districts will now only accept and process new proposals from Jan. 1 to March 1 for summer recreation events that take place between May 1 and Oct. 31. Proposals submitted during this open season will be date stamped and evaluated in the order received. Once the review of the proposal has been completed, proponents will be notified of the outcome. Proposals that are received outside the open season (after March 1) will not be accepted and will need to be resubmit during the next open season period.

Please keep in mind that it could take up to eight weeks for the initial review of the proposal package. Submission of a proposal does not grant any rights to use NFS lands nor does it guarantee that the proposal or subsequent application will be accepted, or that a special use authorization will be issued.

In order to help proponents submit a thorough application package, please see the frequently asked questions below for more details on special use authorizations. For more information contact the Bridgeport and Carson Ranger Districts’ Recreation Program at (775) 884-8112. An open season for winter use permits will be announced in late summer.

What is a Special Use Permit? 

A temporary special use permit or authorization is a short-term activity that takes place on public land and provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large. With this in mind, land managers must evaluate the effects of the proposed activity. Large scale uses or activities may also require public and collaborative stakeholder scoping. The Forest Service may permit a special use providing that the activity will not cause derogation of the Forest’s environmental or social resources or the primary objectives for which the Forest in managed. Potential resource damage, disruption of normal public use, and effects to previously approved permitted activities will all be evaluated in the analysis process. 

Are there fees associated with special use permits?

Yes. Land use fees are required for commercial uses. These fees cover agency processing costs of special use applications and monitoring costs for special use authorizations. There are two ways to determine the fees:

  1. Five percent of adjusted gross receipts for one-time events and three percent of adjusted gross receipts for multiple events under a single permit; or
  2. Using the minimum fees for recreation events that have been established, but may vary by national forest. 

There may be other costs for which proponents are responsible as part of the authorized activity. Liability insurance coverage and a performance bond to ensure protection of the environment and site cleanup may be required. Depending on the size and duration of your activity, costs associated with law enforcement, crowd control, safety issues, and sanitation may also be required. 

Are Non-profit organizations, educational institutes. and organizations exempt?

Based on the Federal Code of Regulations (36CFR 251.51), if you charge a participation or membership fee for an activity which takes place on NFS lands, you are required to obtain a special use permit. The tax structure of your organization is not relevant to whether or not you need a permit. Some of the largest permitted outfitting and guiding organizations operating on NFS lands are non-profit and educational organizations providing great public benefits. (See Commercial Use Definition). 

What is the definition of Commercial Use?

Commercial use means any use or activity on NFS lands (a) where an entry or participation fee is charged or (b) where the primary purpose is the sale of a good or service and, in either case, regardless of whether the use or activity is intended to produce a profit (36 CFR 251.51).